Some Worthwhile Tricks to Have an Effective Business Meeting

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Have you ever assisted a meeting where you just sat and said to yourself:” what am I doing here? Why am I invited to this meeting? This is not even my department!”. Do you often get annoyed by your colleague who won’t stop deviating from the main meeting topic, mentioning side talks and irrelevant info? Do you find it quite difficult to control participants? Well, you are in the right place, in this article I will shed the lights on some basic yet really important tips to be a time saver, not a time stealer.

A meeting is a gathering of a group of people for the purpose of putting a particular matter under discussion. Some would categorize business meetings according to their formalities; formal and informal meetings. Others, on the other hand would follow the purpose of having them as a reference. Every meeting has special etiquettes and rules that should be followed in order to guarantee productive results. 

Before the Meeting:

Start first by working on the atmosphere of the place in which you’ll be holding the meeting. It doesn’t have to be formal all the time. In fact, that would add more pressure on the participants and make it more difficult to achieve the desired exchange. You can deviate from that trench by changing the location. It wouldn’t harm holding an off-side themed meeting. Another factor is a good sense of humor, laughter is an energizing force. It is always encouraged to crack jokes and have a sporting attitude. 

Every meeting should have an agenda in which the objective, the issues to be discussed, the topics that would be covered are precise. An agenda is crucial for the chairman as well as for the other participants. There must be a time allocation for each activity, in a way we avoid wasting time on irrelevant matters and focus on the important issues. Planning an agenda would allow us to have a pre-set vision about the possible outcomes of the meeting. It would also help to give the attendees an opportunity to prepare their work, their questions, and their motions, thus a fruitful and positive outcome is guaranteed. 

One of the most important factors of having a successful meeting is defining its purpose and setting a clear agenda. Summarize it in one sentence and be precise, if you can’t do that there’s no need to have this meeting at all. It will also help you know the best way to hold it; does it have to be done face to face or it would be more efficient to have an online meeting.

Setting an agenda in advance would help the participants prepare themselves to discuss the main issues, thus a coherent and intelligent conversation. Send the agenda in advance; in case the meeting is with people who work with you on a daily basis, then maybe an hour before is enough to notice. But if it’s a big deal (as an AGM, EGM), maybe you need a 3 days or a week’s notice before. Nobody likes last minute surprises. 

Choose your attendees wisely. One major mistake that hinders meetings in business organizations is inviting the wrong people. It happens often that people from the other departments or people with no expected added value to the meeting are invited.  

During  the meeting :

Greetings are important in every meeting. It reveals a strong respectful personality. One might also kick it off by apologizing on behalf of the absent attendees. 
Start and end on time. Follow the agenda and make sure you don’t hold your delegates after the due time, it is disrespectful for them. Make sure you encourage everyone to participate by sharing ideas, perspectives and giving suggestions, that would give them the sense they’re adding a value to problem-solving or collecting decision-making. Moreover keeping the meeting on track is also important. Stick to your agenda and try not to deviate from the main topic. However, you should be flexible enough to accept new ideas and approaches, if it seems at first like it does not serve the content. 

Keep asking questions to everyone. That would make you seem approachable, thus your team will be more into listening to what you have to say and give you feedback on it. A spontaneous atmosphere is the main source of creative thoughts.
Break the ice between the members. Try not to get impatient; this will only cause you to lose face and appear very inflexible. Try different means of expression (such as drawing, videos, charts, notes) that would help the shy people to participate. Creating warm interactions would help you hold your meeting successfully. 

At the end of the meeting:

Review the agreed actions and agreements. You should precise responsibilities and delegation of tasks to the members. If you would put a deadline for them you should inform them from the day of assigning these tasks.  Go again through the main outcomes of the meeting. If its what it has been expected to be thank everyone for their time and attention. If not, discuss with your team the main reasons you think things went wrong. 
As a follow-up activity, you can distribute the minutes, as well as actions and responsibilities. You can also check in with action people to guarantee an ongoing process.

Written by - Issleme Landolsi

Edited by - Vaibhav Sharma

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